Southwell salutes General Tufto
General Tufto celebrated his 100th start at Southwell Racecourse with a commanding victory on Tuesday.
General Tufto won his 100th start at Southwell with his ears pricked
Trained by Charles Smith, the 11-year-old is a veteran of 188 career starts and 17 victories and provided his connections with a day to remember with a tearful owner John Theaker saying 'nothing will ever, ever feel like this again I'm sure'.
In rear in the early stages after his traditional slow start, General Tufto began to make his ground on the turn before powering clear in the straight to score by two and a half lengths at 7/1.
Jockey Joey Haynes said: "It's a bit of a fairytale really. It's brilliant for everyone involved. Everybody loves following him so it's great, really good.
"He runs every race the same and today he almost got there too soon but he's done it really nicely. Delighted for the owners.
"Going into the bend, he started gaining on them and coming out of the bend he started to pass a few and he kept passing the rest."
An overwhelmed Smith couldn't initially find his words when interviewed on At The Races but did gather himself to pay tribute to a horse he described as 'a real pet'.
"Oh absolutely, he's just priceless," he said. "He's in the form of his life, he ran well here last time and hopefully he'll come back here New Year's Day now.
"He plays with the grandchildren, an absolute superstar, a real pet. My daughter has looked after him since he was a three-year-old, she does brilliant with him."
It was a 15th course success for General Tufto who has been placed at the Newark circuit on a further 22 occasions.
The son of Fantastic Light began his career in September 2007 and gained his first success at the track in February 2009, but it it has been nearly two years since he last graced the winner's enclosure.
Theaker, who received a cake on the winner's rostrum to commemorate the occasion, paid tribute to his Lincolnshire based handler and his jockey.
"The tears are there, but it's fantastic. I think the jockey absolutely got it right," he said.
"You can't beat it. We got him from Mr Oppenheimer, he went to Roger Charlton and then Charles got him in 2008.
"To keep him going is absolutely amazing."
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